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Mr Nandos

At 17, I decided it was time to ‘come out’; to tell the world I had accepted my sexuality. I had been with guys, but never by this point, had a boyfriend. Enter stage right, Grant….who didn’t return in act two!

After Grant, let’s just say, I explored my sexuality! I had a few guys I saw exclusively for no more than a month or so- but didn’t have a serious boyfriend until I was 18. This relationship should have come with a warning- it wasn’t healthy! I spent probably far longer than I should have done in it, but as they say, love is blind- and your penis makes you stupid!

Over the next 4 years, I went from relationship to relationship. Some were blissful briefly, some were me seeking to have a life of luxury and one that I wanted to last forever…sometimes. I had never really been ‘on my own’. As a person, I am somewhat of a chameleon; I adapt myself to suit those around me. Never to a huge extent but some people bring things out in me; others I feel like I have to suppress parts of my personality.

Having done this for as long as I can remember; it’s was inevitable that at some point I would forget how to be me, instead of a jigsaw made up of pieces of what other people thought or how I presumed I should be. This sobering realisation hit me quicker than a shot of tequila, and the hangover was more insufferable!

I decided I would do what I had always avoided….stay single, at least for a while.

At first, it was OK! I could go weeks without ‘grooming’ and no one knew or cared! I wore primark pants almost every day and was able to eat without worrying! I enjoyed my own company, and loved being able to watch TV and not be forced to watch documentaries about crap I wasn’t interested in! In short….it was bliss!

Then I got bored.

I started dating a guy- and when I say dating, I mean I was there whilst he wandered around shops, gazed into his fish tank and really only got his attention when I took my clothes off.

I got bored again.

I went back to my life of not shaving, eating carbs and watching repeats of Downtown Abbey….this time the period of bliss got boring far quicker! I did what every other completely sane and balanced person doe, and went on Grindr…gaydar….hornet….etc. etc. etc…..I was really bored!

Having spent most of my time on there ignoring faceless profiles and people that think saying HI 50 times is going to increase their sexual appeal to you….I got bored yet again!

The boredom of it has long since faded; and is now replaced with loneliness. The thing I didn’t foresee was that spending all this time on my own, I would become selfish and self-reliant. It’s also destroyed my once very confident and outgoing nature; and apparently it’s noticeable.

It has been a journey of rediscovery I guess; but it’s when you are so single that your best friends buy you valentines cards and you have date night with them, instead of someone you want ‘dessert’ with…it gets lonely.

The loneliness is such that; if I didn’t live with my pet-hating parents, I would probably have built up an impressive collection of cats by now! The thought of that makes my heart go warm….and I don’t like cats; I’m horribly allergic to them!

I am now at the stage that, I don’t know where a partner would fit in my life…and if I’d be willing to sacrifice the freedoms I have now- I feel like I am in a catch 22!

I want to be settled down, have the traditional gay life- Him, me, a teacup dog and extensive collection of candles in every room in the two bedroom flat with a balcony….I want it all!

I know I am not going to find it on a networking app, and I know I probably won’t find it in my hometown…but wherever it is, wherever he is….can someone point him firmly in the direction of my local Nando’s…I’ll be there covered in cat hair with a table for two!

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in My Blog

 

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SEXUAL HEALTH CLINIC OPEN….no gays allowed! – Part 2

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Hey everyone!

Yesterday evening, I posted a blog about a sexual health clinic in Dover, that has a sign on the wall, that states the clinic will NOT treat men who have sex with men or sex workers.

I ended the post with very little information about the why; but the refusal to treat MSM and sex workers, is one that hadn’t been denied by the person I had spoken to.

I had spoken with a member of the East Kent NHS Sexual Health Service team, and explained what the sign said. I was then asked to forward a copy of the photograph that had been sent to me by a friend. I was told it would be looked into, and I would hear back from them.

Early this afternoon, I spoke with the head of East Kent NHS Sexual Health Services, Jinny Robinson. Having been sent a copy of my email, Jinny seemed just as shocked by the sign as I had been. It has become clear, over the last 24 hours, that this sign is not an official one and it’s placing on the wall of the Dover clinic- wasn’t an official direction.

Whilst she wholeheartedly apologised for the sign that seems to openly discriminate against MSM and sex workers – the actual message behind it, that the clinic won’t treat the two groups which are considered the most ‘high risk’, still hasn’t been argued. I confirmed with her that the Dover Health Centre WILL turn MSM and sex workers away, advising them of other provisions that WILL treat them.

It seems that this, in my opinion, is blatant discrimination. It is disguised under a ‘tier system’ of GUM clinics. Dover only has a ‘level 2′ facility, whilst MSM and sex workers are required to attend a level 3 provision. Is the fact that it seems the same treatment is offered to heterosexuals and indeed gay women, ‘OK’ in officials eyes?

Katie Street, who lives in Dover, and made me aware of the sign didn’t think it was ‘ok';

As a straight person it really shocked me to find the sign in the clinic. I find that Many health services claim that they ‘treat everyone the same’, but this usually means that they treat everyone as heterosexual. Gay and lesbian people do not need special medical treatment, but they do need treatment that is fair and appropriate.

Dover Health Clinic would of made anyone from the LGBT community feel unwanted or that they shouldn’t be there. We live in a century now where we should be accepting of different people, and not discriminating anyone.

I hope that in the future and hopefully not to long away. That Dover will have a fully functional Clinic in which everyone including people from the gay community is accepted and where they can go to be treated if a problem occurs and not to be made to feel that they can’t go and have to travel.

I am assured that a full investigation will be started to discover why the sign is up. The fact that Dover and the surrounding towns and villages do not have an adequate sexual health provision is for me, the biggest problem at hand. This, for me, and for many people across Kent, IS the point. The wording of the sign is offensive and discriminatory…but in the bigger picture, irrelevant- It’s the fact there is a policy behind it!

If it is perfectly legal for MSM and sex workers to be refused treatment at ‘Level 1 & 2′ provisions, how many clinics are there across the country that are turning people away? This issue may not be as serious as it is in Dover; leaving MSM and sex workers having to travel to other parts of the county to receive treatment.

The closest provisions (Train Station to Train Station – not including additional bus journeys or walking) are as follows;

Folkestone
10 miles away.
Costing £4.80 if travelling by train.

Canterbury
19 miles away.
Costing between £8.10 and £14.90 if travelling by train.

Margate
23 miles away.
Costing £11.80 if travelling by train.

So MSM and sex workers have to pay an extra fee for a sexual health MOT? They have to travel to a clinic that’s “MSM-friendly”? It was hard for me to just accept. I wanted to hear from KCC- who are now in charge of public health for Kent.

I spoke with the head of Public Health at Kent County Council, who I had worked with last year. It seems that my phone call was an expected one – hardly surprising when the post has been read by thousands of people, who are now asking the same questions as I am. It was clear that there was an air of caution as to what was said, a sentiment I can completely understand.

I am told that there will be a press statement made on Monday and that I will receive a phone call from the head of Public Health at Kent County Council, to answer my queries directly. I have no reason to doubt that they will.

I can only hope that Kent County Council and East Kent NHS Sexual Health Services assure us that this provision will be ungraded to a ‘Level 3′ one, as soon as possible, so it’s brought up to 2015 standards and needs! To me, this outdated policy, screams segregation. Segregation is illegal, as stated in the Equality Act 2010.

How can this be going on in 2015? What about the people who cannot afford the train fares or fuel to travel for a sexual health test? How many people cannot access these clinics on the days and/or times that they run? How many people think they are ‘probably’ free of infection, so it’s not worth the hassle? How many people are seeing this policy as stigmatising, and are frightened, so don’t feel comfortable attending an alternative clinic? How many people, including those who aren’t ‘out’, feel too embarrassed to ask where the nearest “MSM-friendly” clinic is?

How many are being left untreated?

 
 

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Dear Perez Hilton…

I am not going to pretend that before writing this post that I liked you. I am not going to pretend I started watching this series of big brother as a fan of yours. I won’t pretend that I haven’t had to take more than a few deep breaths before writing this post.

I am angry.

I am offended.

I am disappointed.

I am upset.

I don’t pretend to have ever wasted my time reading your blog; from what I know and understand of it, is that it is just filled with hatred, remarks, gossip and lies about people far more talented and successful as yourself. It is not something that interests me. It’s nothing more than glorified bullying.

I don’t pretend that, before your entrance to the Celebrity Big Brother House earlier this year, I ever gave you a second thought – other than, when your endless bashing of Lady Gaga as a bully and all the other endless nonsense, that seemed to have no real substantiation, plagued my twitter timeline. This was of course, not for the first time.

Before your arrival on to my television screen, I remained blissfully ignorant to your ‘career’, and incredibly unaware as to the disgusting behavior you would display in some last ditched attempt to save your otherwise dwindling career – your A-list friend circle all but gone, your presence online being replaced by 13 year old kids with nothing more than a webcam, iMovie and an attitude problem.

Over the last few weeks, I have watched in utter horror at the spectacle you have made of yourself on British TV. At first….I got it. I really did! In fact, I almost felt sorry for you. The venomous character you have created seems to have intertwined with the person under it in such a deep rooted way, that you became very lonely, very desperate to be liked. I got it.

However, with every attention seeking filled second. This feeling of compassion turned to pity, as I watched you goad other housemates into getting so frustrated, that they used offensive language. Whilst I, of course, don’t condone the word that Alexander O’Neal used towards you….I don’t think for a second he is homophobic, no more than I do Katie Hopkins as you branded her just a week ago. To me, it seems like a word you are FAR to quick to use against people that just don’t like you….poor Perez.

I watched as you embarrassed the gay community on national television, in a country that has worked so hard to eliminate prejudice against the LGBTQ community. It was painful to watch as I saw your behavior, knowing that, for some people, it would form an opinion of us, as a community.

I watched in absolute despair as Michelle Visage cried for the same reason I wanted to. Michelle, for all intents and purposes, is as much part of this community as me, and, if I like it or not, you. Having been the victim of a random and unprovoked homophobic assault, I wonder how many gay people will be prejudged, as I was, against the behavior you have displayed?

It has become tiresome to watch what had been one of my favourite shows. It has been utterly overshadowed by you and the pathetic attempts to steal every second of camera time as you could. It’s become very clear you went in, desperate to be liked and it backfired, and now you are going for the villain title…well congratulations…you’ve certainly got that.

I could have forgiven it. I could have forgotten it all….eagerly! I could have accepted your utterly pitiful behavior…in time. The British public are clever enough to work out exactly what you are doing. What I cannot forgive is the latest vile addition to the already distasteful portfolio you have built up over the last few weeks. Your ‘wholly unacceptable’ comment about the AIDS pandemic.

We watched as you compared the isolation you have felt to being “diagnosed with AIDS in the early 80s”.

Words fail to justify the utter disgust I feel towards you. There is no excuse for it.

You have been ostracised, isolated and ‘picked on’ because of the childlike, pathetic and disgraceful way in which you have portrayed yourself. People are acting like that towards you because they don’t like YOU. Whilst she may be flawed, Katie Hopkins is not to blame for that, she is not at fault here. YOU ARE.

I have NO doubt your comment was a VERY deliberate act to offend, upset and incite anger and hatred. It is CRYSTAL clear that you hold no regard for the LGBTQ community, but to use HIV/AIDS as ammunition is nothing short of abhorrent.

How dare you compare justified comments and behaviors towards you in the same way it felt to be diagnosed in the 1980s. As someone living with HIV, I could not even begin to imagine being diagnosed with AIDS now, let alone in the early 80s.

I have felt isolation that you could never begin to imagine. I have cried so hard that I felt I didn’t have the strength to wake up the next day.

I have felt loneliness like I can’t even begin to describe. Even in a room full of loved ones, I felt like I didn’t have a single person in the world that understood the grief I was feeling.

I have had strangers look at me with utter disgust on their faces, just because of the three letters whispered in their ear by someone I didn’t know.

I have lost friendships, the love of family members and the respect of acquaintances just because I am living with a immunodeficiency virus.

I have seen the lust in people’s eyes changed to pity or disgust as I disclosed my status and knew instantly that they had discounted my entire personality.

I feel blessed that I had support around me….other people aren’t that lucky. I can’t get my head around how that would have felt.

All this still, NOTHING compared to what people in the 80s felt when they were told they had AIDS. When there was no treatment, no cure….it WAS a death sentence. That is something I can’t even begin to imagine…My heart actually hurts when I think of the men,women and children that lost their lives to AIDS related illnesses.

So tell me again Mr Hilton, how your situation is ANYTHING like that?!

I feel physically sick by the complete disregard to the memory of those we lost in the 80s, simply so you could get more screen time, to offend a wider audience, to build a bigger hatred so you can come out and whine and winge about how hard it was for you!

I would never wish the isolation, the loneliness and the prejudice that comes with living with this virus upon anyone….I would never want you to understand just how far away your comment was from reality.

I sincerely hope you fully understand just what you have done.

Our community needs support, not stigma.

There cannot be an apology from you….I for one, refuse to accept it.

What you have done and said, has all been deliberate….for shock value.

For me, it’s unforgivable.

 
 

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What’s new?

Hey everyone! I hope you are all well!

So we are 10 days into 2015, and well…this year hasn’t got off to the great start I had hoped for. Work pressure has somewhat increased….at the worst possible time of year. Budgets are all but gone for training…leaving my fledgling business struggling to cope….and more so, me struggling to cope.

I haven’t been in a good financial situation for a while now – with bills, expenses and a business to run….it’s not been easy. It’s frustrating that, living in an area known for its higher than average unemployment rate…I’m not in the best geographical place to get an evening or weekend job either.

I do have something in the pipeline that will end my struggle….although it seems more and more out of reach as each day passes!

I guess my frustrations are increased, and my anxieties heightened because I have FINALLY listened to my doctor and HIV specialist and given up smoking! I have been told for a while that I should for what feels like forever, but I guess, I never wanted to before. I’m not really sure what has brought it on, but I am glad to have been able to do it – and relatively easily too! I am using a vapour nicotine substitute to combat cravings, but since the 27th December, I have been smoke free!

I already consciously eat healthily and ensure that I am well nourished, so I guess the next thing I should do, is to start exercising! I used to go running, and was always a keen swimmer….so I am hoping the transition back into it will be as easy as the smoking cessation!

My quest for a bubble butt and biceps is my driving force! Vanity….maybe….but I would love to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with the reflection. Over the last two and a half years, I have become very insecure….masked i guess, but countless selfies…that I can assure you, is never just one quick snap!

I have also agreed to write a short blog for GtenMedia – my first post was published earlier this month; just introducing myself and giving a brief rundown of the last few years!

Not much else to say guys, so I’ll leave it there!

All my love, as always,

Jayce
xx

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in My Blog

 

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2014 – The year that everything changed

It’s that time of year again. The time when i sit in front of my laptop and reflect on another turbulent year. It has, as is the case for every year before it, been filled with highs and lows, laughter and tears and another huge learning curve.

This year has been one of personal development for me. Giving up on looking for love and for companionship – this year I concentrated on myself. I put my efforts into work this year and have ended the year, professionally, in a great place.

It started this year by teaming up with my mum’s training company and developing ‘Train The Change: HIV, AIDS & Stigma Awarness'; a training campaign aimed to improve awareness and try to help in stigma surrounding HIV & AIDS. As always with these things, red tape is put in place and barriers thrown up in front of you. Sex and relationship education in the UK is, at present, not a mandatory part of the national curriculum – something that is being fiercely fought for by people across the country.

The launch of Train The Change seemed to put me in a good light with big organisations, none more so than the Public Health Department of Kent County Council. I was asked to attend an international conference and give my views and advice on how to tackle the above average rate of late diagnosis in my part of the country. It was something I thought long and hard about and cam to the conclusion it lay in three areas – three areas KCC are now focusing their efforts it seems.

I was then asked to join edUKate Training full time as the centre manager, and later bought shares and became the Managing Director. It had happened…I had become a proper grown up! This complete career change was incredibly exciting to me. It wasn’t my first time in the education sector, I once worked as a teaching assistant – but this time, it felt like something I would enjoy doing. It challenged me mentally, and I love to learn and to teach. Adult education seems to be a perfect fit.

The new pressures of work meant i didn’t have much time to dwell and to brood like I had done for the last two years, meaning mentally I was allowed to move on in my journey with HIV. I attempted several times to write a blog post ‘bowing out’ if you like, but the thought of walking away from blogging, which has essentially been my therapy for the last two years, was a decision that wasn’t easy to make.

I suddenly came to realise that, I wasn’t writing, because I didn’t have anything to write about. I started this blog pouring my thoughts and emotions into it in a world new and confusing to me. Over the two years I had been blogging, I guess living with HIV had for me, become just a normal thing – a non-issues. It was then i came to the conclusion, I didn’t need the therapy anymore – I had reached the end of my journey.

I spent four months ‘getting on with my life’ and, although I have friends that I talk to, I started to feel almost lonely. I hadn’t, as I felt I had with the blog, been able to sound off without reservation. It was after a pep talk with a friend urging me to return to it, that I decided I would return to it.

Earlier this year, I am sad to say, I was involved in a homophobic attack for the first time in my life. Walking home after a fun night out, ended with me having to go to a&e and have stitches. I did what I always do, put a front on it and pretend like I was ‘strong’. The sad truth of it, was that it had affected me deeply. I was worried about going out and avoided it for two months.

On my second night out since, I was again, attacked by a drunk. This time, it wasn’t a homophobic related one – I was just literally caught in the crossfire of another fight. This time, it really got to me. Both of the attacks have had their toll on me – so much so, I refuse to go out in my hometown anymore.

Earlier this month, I visited Brighton. It was a short visit but an eventful one as always. I was there to see a good friend of mine, and spent the day having serious talks, laughs, jokes and of course, a few cheeky drinks. It was a visit I thought would be a somber one, but wasn’t. I also visited an ex partner and cleared the air…a conversation that gave me a massive feeling of closure.

An incident happened in Brighton – an utter betrayal of someone I probably should never have given my trust. I won’t talk about it because I wouldn’t give them the glory of being talk about. It did however, give me the push I needed to finally write the book I have asked to write for the last two years.

It has been incredibly liberating, if not a little scary.I am glad I have finally found the courage to share the story before I was diagnosed. Whether the book is a ‘bestseller’ or not doesn’t matter to me, it’s almost like the missing piece of the puzzle and like the last step in my bid for freedom. I will of course keep you updated!

The biggest part of my year, I still can’t share – which is a shame. I am working on what started as a side project with work, but has turned out to be something bigger than I could ever have imagined. I am looking forward to being able to share it with everyone….but for now, I am not allowed!

2014, whilst eventful, has been a very a great one. Thank you for sharing it with me, and for your unconditional love and support. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe new year!

All my love, as always,

Jayce

xx

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in My Blog

 

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Refocused. Recharged. Returned.

Hey everyone!

I was sitting in my office two weeks ago. Coffee in hand, post it notes scattering the desk, head all over the place.

I am concentrating all my efforts at the moment on my new project. It is something a world away from anything I have ever done before – but as with other things I have done before…it’s a huge challenge that is going to an uphill battle. It will be worth it if I get it right – which means the battle is ultimately worth the battle scars.

I was discussing it with a lady I know, who attended the launch of Train The Change – expressing to her about the self-doubt I have cast upon myself. She reminded me of the start of my journey. The battle with the job centre. The struggles I have faced in stigma. The creation of the TTT campaign….and short of shaking me…she did everything to convince me that I could use these experiences to drive the new project.

She asked about this blog – and what I was doing with the activism side of my life. I explained to her that I had taken a back seat, and felt my journey,or rather my struggle, had come to an end. Something I explained to you all in August. I also told her about something I had been feeling for a while before I stopped blogging.

I had felt like so much was going wrong for me, I used my blog as a way to get all my bottled up and reserved feelings and emotions out. This,whilst it had helped me – wasn’t so positive for those reading it. I felt like in doing this, I had become stale and uninteresting – no longer relevant in what had been such a huge part of my life.

She stressed to me that whilst my struggle was over, and my journey to acceptance had come to end; you guys would want to what happened next – where the journey had led me.She also said that people had been supporting me – and whether or not my posts were all about living with HIV or not – people would still want to read…and that she and her family had missed my posts.

I thought about it for so long, and realised that for so long I had so much support and love given to me….and to disappear, whilst I needed the break, was unfair i guess?

From the bottom of my heart I have to thank Tina Kydd for that conversation. Not only did it help with me with my work struggles and doubts…she gave me the courage I needed to come back to what I honestly LOVE doing!
So I have decided that, I would start writing again! I just hope you guys will enjoy reading it!

A few little updates to start I guess!!

I am still living in Kent, with my wonderful parents! The house is a little crowded with Mum, Stepdad Steve, Sister Gemma and her boyfriend Mark and my niece Ellie and myself, all under one roof! It’s nice to be in a full family home though I guess!

I am the manager of a company – and I LOVE my job, and as soon as I can tell you more, I’ll let you know what the new project is! All i can say is, it’s huge!!

I am single…been that way for a while! I have been on a few dates and recently met with an ex partner for drinks and briefly thought it would rekindle, I have since decided it’s not the right thing to do. History tells me it’s not right for either of us.

Whilst it’s nice to go on dates, I rarely go for date two. I have no interest in one-night stands or purely sexual encounters. I am at a point in my life that I just want someone to cuddle up with and share my life with. I want to meet someone that actually makes me happy, and that I’m not going to realise 6 months down the line, isn’t compatible.

I do have a date on Saturday with another guy. He seems very nice so far, and I remain optimistic that the date will go well!

Well….for now, that’s enough rambling!!

I hope you are all well!!

All my love, as ALWAYS

Jayce
xx

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in My Blog, Support Not Stigma, Train The Change

 

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World AIDS Day 2014

World AIDS Day 2014

Hey everyone!

Long time no speak!! I have been trying desperately to write a post for a while now, but have really struggled. Today however, the incredible amount of love and support being shown across the world is such an inspiration and makes me miss you all terribly! So I would write a post and offer my thoughts about WAD 2014.

I was asked in an interview last week, what World AIDS day means to me, and what relevance I feel it has in 2014. A question that gets asked a lot.

For me – World AIDS day is such a special time. It is as if the world joins hands and takes a moment to remember those who’s lives were cut short, who’s friends and families lost a loved one. It also shows an huge amount of support for those affected by HIV & AIDS and raises awareness that is seems, is still so desperately needed.

I feel a sad today, and I have been reflecting this morning on just how lucky I am. It is a very sobering feeling to know that, had my situation been 20 years ago, my story would be a very different one. I am so grateful that I am lucky enough to be able to plan and to look forward to a long, happy and healthy life.

I am also sad that living where I do, a small seaside town in Kent, England – there is no event to mark this day and for the community to reflect and remember. Having spoken to the owners of the only gay bar near me, I would have expected them to have had something planned – instead, it was a day not known to them. Whether this is because they are a straight couple very new to ‘the scene’ or simply, as is the case with many others, they just simply hadn’t heard of it.

This conversation happened during National HIV testing week – again, somewhat of a surprise giving that, whilst the LGBTQ community fight against the stereotype that comes with HIV & AIDS, we are united in the fight against HIV & AIDS. Across the country both at the weekend and tonight there will be events in most LGBTQ bars & clubs.

Last year I was unable to travel back to Brighton to the candlelit vigil, and instead had a private moment of reflection at home – but I would love to be able to share that moment with friends, family and my local community.

Next year however, I will work with the local bar, to ensure that Thanet has an event and those living with HIV in the area, will be able to experience that feeling of absolute love that I have been lucky enough to feel at events or through you guys!

Today doesn’t just bring sadness to me though – I am so touched that when I went on social media sites – it seems nearly everyone I know is showing their support for the day – and of course, for me as someone living with HIV – that support feels incredible. I will again, have my moment of reflection privately tonight and I will light a candle in memory of those we have lost.

I also want to take this opportunity to give a huge virtual family hug to those affected by HIV across the world – for some of us today is a difficult one, but know the world is holding your hand.

All my love, as always

Jayce
xx

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2014 in My Blog, Support Not Stigma

 

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HIV – Am I over it?

Hey guys.

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I have posted…with work, a (now ex) partner and lots of other commitments, I simply haven’t had the time.

Updates are small, and some insignificant – but I have had a few emails to ask where I am and to let you guys know I am ok.

Work has been crazy since I joined full time as the centre manager – which means a LOT of work and long hours! I am enjoying it…just wish the pace would slow down a little!

I briefly got all loved up and him and I were happy for a few weeks before things started to fizzle out and I decided it was time to call it a day – ending entirely more pleasantly and quickly than my last breakup!

I am missing Brighton and my friends there like crazy and hoping that next year I can move back and move my work there!

I have started writing – this time not for a blog or magazines etc…but for a novel.

It is nice to write about a character, rather than myself for a change! I will of course let you know when it is finished and hope that I can realise my lost childhood ambition of publishing a book.

I have also been approached about sharing my own journey in a book form – but as yet, that is a decision I need a lot of time to think about – again I will keep you posted!

Now, this post is one I have been struggling to write for a while…but it’s things I need to say and to get off my chest. I am a little upset about it – but it brings about a positive change in me, and I hope you guys can understand.

It has been a long time since I have written on here. I know I have really neglected this side of my life recently. Not just online, but generally activism and even really discussing it.

Over the last few weeks I have started to realise that, for me, being positive just isn’t such a massive issue any more. I have just, kinda got used to it.

This time two years ago, I was in a relationship with a very sweet guy – but the relationship hit an iceberg when I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t tell his parents. I, then, was incredibly ashamed of my status – I felt like they had a right to know who their son was with….me. A guy living with HIV.

Fast forward two years, to my now recent ex. The fact his family didn’t know about my status, about my activism, about my blogging or Train The Change…didn’t bother me in the slightest.

I had finally seen what the first guy had meant by – they don’t need to know, it’s not essential.

Whether his parents, or indeed my recent ex’s parents found out and reacted badly – even then, for those guys it wasn’t an issue – it would be something the parents would have to come to terms, and deal with.

Going out clubbing and meeting guys this time last year – before they had even began to get to know me – I would jump right out and say ‘BY THE WAY, I’M POSITIVE!’

Whether it was my status or my blurting it out that contributed to the rejection I faced – I will never know.

Again, fast forward to now – When I go out, and speak to a guy I like, it’s just not relevant. I no longer fear they will see it as if I have somehow deceived them.

Long gone are the days where I loathe myself for the mistakes I made to get me here – and hardly ever do I get days I pity myself because of my status. Which, a lot of you will know – very different to two years ago.

It’s so hard to adjust to the thing that consumed my life completely for 18 months to suddenly become just another part of me…but, having said that, it’s an adjustment I am happy to make.

What the future holds for me as a blogger – I’m not sure. I will always fight against stigma…that will never change.

I no longer feel lost, confused, upset, angry or any of the other rollercoaster of emotions that made me start, and continue to write about my journey. I feel like I am at my destination….and it’s good to finally be home.

All my love, always

Jayce

xx

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in My Blog

 

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Love doesn’t hurt.

Love doesn’t hurt.

Hi everyone.

This post is in a completely different area than my readers expect….but a subject that has dominated my life for over 6 months, and one I feel I need to get out of my head and on to paper…so to speak.

In 2008, I began a relationship with a man I thought was absolutely incredible, and as it turned out, my first ‘serious relationship’.

Around 6 months later, warning bells started to resound in my ears, albeit falling deafly.

He started to control me – and the worst thing is, I have always been a very observant person, able to read people well, and most of all, I was independent!

Time went on, and as dazzled as I was by the man that made me laugh, made me ‘happy’ and giving me what I had always wanted…only now do I see he was manipulating me to think that is what I wanted.

It didn’t take long until I had given up work, didn’t have my own mobile phone, didn’t see my friends…at least, not on my own…and every aspect of my life involved him.

If I questioned it….that’s how it should be, because we loved each other and why wouldn’t we spend ALL of our time together…

It was this questioning that led to realisation something just wasn’t right…and remember, this was my first ‘proper’ relationship, I simply didn’t have any comparison.

I started to become defiant and resistant to this control…and then I started to see a very different side to him…an angry side, a violent side.

Of course; going to bars came with it’s dangers….one night a guy got hit just for smiling at me….the jealousy and possessiveness was incomprehensible…and completely unnecessary!!

Over the space of two years, I was pushed, shoved, grabbed, hit, punched, kicked and sexually abused….this culminated in a horrific night. The night he tried to kill me.

Had it not been for the fact someone else being in the house, I have no doubt, and he has no shame in admitting, he would have succeeded.

With every slap and every punch…I went back. I hid it, lied for him, covered up for him….and in the end, I cut everyone off because it was easier than hiding it…

It took everything I had to get the courage to leave him….and this time, the last time….I had to move 50 miles away, and not tell anyone, just to stay safe….and to get some clarity in my own head.

Abusers like that get in your head…you don’t realise it, but they are making all the decisions from inside your head…playing you like a fiddle!!

I am watching this situation being mirrored with a very close friend right now….although, the ‘cutting your friends out’ stage has come much later.

I have nightmares about what will happen to her….I panic if 24 hours go by with no contact or at least a Facebook status from her.

To see her take such courage to get out, to fall back in to the trap….like an ant walking towards the suffocating honey in a glass jar….so helpless and unaware of what is before her….no screams or pleads will help…not ever reaching out will prevent the enticement towards the so called nectar….that is the most devastating thing of all.

It’s hard to be put aside for a man that causes her so much pain…and for a man that both her friends and family fear will ultimately lose control and finally achieve what he didn’t before….it’s not just hard….it’s terrifying!

Knowing that all I can do is stand by and pray it doesn’t happen….even worse.

Being in an abusive relationship is hard, from bitter experience I know…..however, with the dark stare of truth, I tell you, it’s worse watching it from the outside, happening to a person you love.

There are no best wishes, yours sincerely’s or love to the end of this post as there usually is….just the essence of pain, of upset and of fear.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in My Blog

 

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IMPRESS Health 2 – Committee Meeting

IMPRESS Health 2 – Committee Meeting

Hey everyone!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have been invited to the IMPRESS health 2 study committee meeting, having been asked to advise Kent County Council about what can be done to address sexual health and HIV services in Kent.

The IMPRESS study is to research the issue of late diagnosis in Kent and Picardie in France.

It has become apparent that the two places share very similar statistics related to HIV and late diagnosis rates.

I was asked to attend by Wendy Jeffries, the head of public health services in Kent, after she had seen me on BBC news for the Train The Change launch.

I was asked to consider my thoughts about sexual health services in Kent and why I believed late diagnosis rates were so high in Kent, and what steps could be taken to change this.

After two weeks of racking my brain – I concluded that there were four factors that I thought were linked to people not being tested regularly or indeed being tested at all.

•fear
•ignorance
•accessibility
•stigma

I discussed each of these factors individually and then gave four ways I believe this should be tackled.

•Education
•Advertising
•Campaigns
•Pilot Schemes

I also stressed how important it was to address clinic opening times in Kent – which seem to be muddled, restricted and at times inaccessible.

I also made, for the purposes of the presentation, mock ups of advertising I believe could prompt people to at least consider testing. These came in three categories.

•Encouragement
•Shock Factor
•Identifiable

I showed the group the posters and explained the text and images I had selected.

I then spoke about campaigns – something that has worked well for me as an activist. Whether they be event based such as the Train The Change launch – or social media based like #SupportNotStigma.

The next point was pilot schemes – something that would of course require much more thought – but I highlighted how developing a pioneering scheme could attract media and public support; increasing awareness and possibly testing.

Having heard the statistics that directly affected my county gave me some real perspective on where my focus should be to better educate my local area.

It was agreed by several key members that the target audience for an educational approach should be for adolescents…something I have been focussing on with Train The Change.

I will be speaking to IMPRESS who are leading the study, to gather more information and to discover ways that we could work together to achieve a common goal.

I will also be working with Kent County Council who have shown interest and support in the Train The Change project.

It was a very interesting and insightful meeting and one that will shape my work within my local area. For now though, I have plenty of food for though and I shall update you more as it comes :)

Jayce x

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Events, My Blog, Train The Change

 

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